Gus Malzahn

New Malzahns vs. Old Malzahns in 2013


Or, to be technically correct and as it will appear on the schedule, Arkansas State vs. Auburn.

In a press release, the Sun Belt school announced Tuesday evening that it will travel to The Plains in 2013 to take on the Tigers.  The game will take place at Jordan-Hare Stadium Sept. 7, and will serve as the second contest of the season for both schools.

The school noted in the release that, with this game, the Red Wolves will play have played three times at Jordan-Hare over a seven-year span, the first two coming in 2006 (27-0, AU) and 2010 (52-26, AU).

It was also mark a homecoming for ASU head coach Gus Malzahn (maybe) and running back Michael Dyer (possibly).  Malzahn spent three seasons as AU’s offensive coordinator (2009-2011) before accepting his first head-coaching job this past December.  Dyer had rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of his two seasons with the Tigers, and was a first-team All-SEC performer in 2011, but transferred from AU to ASU in January.

Malzahn said Monday that Dyer likely won’t be eligible to play for the Red Wolves in 2012, but should (?) be eligible in 2013.

One more note on the ASU-AU match-up, from the release: Arkansas State’s contract for the Auburn game calls for a $1.1-million guarantee, the largest in ASU history and the fourth of at least $1 million. A-State received a $1-million payout for its 2010 season opener at Auburn and its 2011 game at Virginia Tech, while the contract for the Red Wolves’ game in Nebraska in 2012 calls for the same.  The contract for A-State’s 2012 season opener at Oregon is $950,000.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
1 Comment

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.